Meet Jennifer Carroll: Even Rick Scott's Likely Running Mate Didn't Think He Should Be Governor
According to several sources, Rick Scott is expected to announce state Rep. Jennifer Carroll as his running mate today. Looking just at her identity and life story, she's an explosive pick: the first African American woman elected to the state legislature as a Republican, an immigrant from Trinidad, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, and the mother of a Miami Dolphin rookie. Though like any politician, there are a few scandals in her past, and she was a vocal supporter of Bill McCollum and critic of Scott during the primary, inferring Scott is running for the seat for "personal gain."
While addressing the Clay County Republicans last month, Carroll implied that Scott did not have the proper experience and lacked vision. Scott largely paid for his primary win over Bill McCollum out of his own pocket (spending near $50 million), has never served in political office before, and was president of a health care company that was slapped with the biggest fines related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud in American history.
"We have on the top of our ticket the Governor's race. It's already contentious. And people are waffling back and forth on who they're going to support, and I support Bill McCollum, I'll let you know that right now," said Carroll. "I'll tell you why that is so critical for us. If you believe we need someone in office at the head of this state that's going to have the vision for the state and not himself, then you need to support [McCollum]."
"We do not need that seat to be a seat where you're learning, to be a seat where it's for personal gain, to be a seat where the residents and the citizens of the state of Florida will be negatively impacted because of the lack of vision."
Carroll doesn't mention Scott by name, so some my choose to view this as an attack on Democratic nominee Alex Sink. Though note the use of the word "himself" and not "herself" when referring to McCollum's opponent. The specific attacks and context (a meeting of Republicans just a few days before the "contentious" primary) leaves little doubt she's referring's to Scott's personal gain and lack of vision and experience. You can watch the video yourself:
What you'll also notice from this video is that Carroll is an effective and rational public speaker. In other words, she will not be the Sarah Palin of Tallahassee.
That's not to say there aren't some minor scandals in her closet.
She once touted a degree from Kensington University, but stopped listing that on her biography once the college was exposed as a diploma mill. She does, however, hold degrees from St. Leo University and the University of New Mexico.
Last year, she also filed a bill concerning the gaming industry, despite the fact that through her PR company she represented Allied Veterans of the World Inc, a group that was working to legalize slot machines. She quickly pulled the bill, blamed it on a staffer, and apologized.
What's more, she doesn't have much of a distinguished record in the state house.
She is however a rare elected African American politician in Florida, and as an immigrant herself may ease other immigrants' fears over Rick Scott's strong stance in favor of bringing Arizona-style immigration legislation to the state.
Whether or not she'll be able to persuade African-American voters, the majority of which are registered Democrats, to vote for Scott is another issue.
She also is the mother of Nolan Carroll who was selected in the 5th round of this year's draft by the Miami Dolphins.
Carroll is an exciting pick for Scott, much more so than Alex Sink's relatively safe and boring pick of Rod Smith. Whether or not she will convince voters to cast their ballot for Scott when she pointed out many of his limitations just weeks ago is a whole other story.